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Getting into an Exercise Routine at Home

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Published on September 4, 2020

Resources and Motivation for Working Out At Home

Esther Schorr sits down with multiple myeloma survivor and avid runner Kenny Capps, and cancer exercise specialist Cathy Skinner from Thrivors, Inc., to discuss resources and how to best connect patients to certified trainers to make sure they are exercising safely. They also share how they motivate themselves to exercise, even when they don't feel like it.

This is part two of a two-part series. Watch Part 1: At-Home Exercise During COVID-19 Pandemic 

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Transcript | Getting into an Exercise Routine at Home

Esther Schorr:
For either Kenny or you Cathy, what can you do with your television? Are there things? I know I've found some things on YouTube as you saw Andrew working out, but you have any suggestions of other resources or videos that kind of would adapt to somebody's fitness level or interests, anything you would recommend?

Places to Start Your Exercise Program

Kenny Capps:
One place that I would start actually is before even jumping into some of the specific exercises or maybe fitness routines, is there are a few videos that address assessment, basically having a physical assessment. In other words, determining where each individual is and then what is it that they can do. And so I think it will be good. And some of them are no more than eight minutes to I think maybe 25, 30 minutes in length. And so for the first time, it would sort of address some things like range of motion, mobility, strength, coordination, balance. I think those are probably pretty important ones to know before you start into any sort of fitness routine.

And then you can kind of jump into other ones and sort of gradually move your way up. And a lot of it, of course probably would be a good idea if you're really unsure about where you're at or maybe if you need somebody who's trauma aware. In other words, if you've got either bone or ligament damage or even if you've got some, let's say you've got gastro issues, that sort of stuff, maybe it'd be a good idea to talk to somebody like Cathy actually, who is a certified cancer exercise specialist. Somebody again, who's trauma aware to help you through that.

Esther Schorr:
There's a lot of people who know how to navigate through things like YouTube. How would somebody find one of these assessments? Short of calling up Cathy, which wouldn't be a bad idea, but either calling Cathy or if we're looking online for some of those shorter assessments, what would you look for?

Kenny Capps:
Well, you actually can. I've actually Googled. It's been a long time, but I've searched before on YouTube. And there are some basic assessment videos on YouTube that you could look for or you could find somebody like Cathy and they can guide you. And some people will do a free assessment, not many, but there are some trainers that want to know where you're at and their first session with you would be free. That way you can establish the level that you’re at also to make sure that the person that you were trying to work with is the right fit. It's not always the right fit.

Esther Schorr:
Okay. Thank you. And Cathy, what about you? Thoughts about all this, where people can look for that kind of assessment and then it sounds like leveling the exercise to what you're able to do physically and that you're comfortable with.

Cathy Skinner:
Yeah. I have a couple of thoughts. As you were discussing, when I meet with people face to face or, Zoom to Zoom, the first assessment is complimentary just because I have to find out if we are a good fit, if I'm the right person to meet their needs and things like that. You can go to the certifying board that I'm a part of called ACSM, American College of Sports Medicine, and look under cancer exercise trainer. You can plug it in your zip code in this element called ProFinder. That's one thing.

The other is I was thinking about as Kenny was talking, when I work with cancer patients, yes, it's physical, but it's also mental and emotional. And so I think there's a lot of opportunity to do meditation, to do reflection, to do some stretching, to do some breathing because those pieces of the biology are just as important as the bones and the muscles. And so what people don't realize is that often reflection, breathing, rest is an integral part of physical wellbeing because they only think, well, if I'm not working out, then I'm not doing what I need to do. And so I would encourage people to think more broadly about what wellness and fitness and nurturing the body is about. There was a month this winter where I was so stressed out, all I could do was just stretch every day. And that was actually more healing and more beneficial than if I had tried to lift weights or do something more rigorous. Because my neuromuscular system just needed to release the tension. And that's what brought about the healing.

Using Apps and Websites To Aid Your Exercise Program

Esther Schorr:
No, that's all really good advice. Just two thoughts. One is that I do know that there are lots of apps and websites for things like yoga and meditation and those are really easy to find. And some of them are with music, some are not, some are you feel like you're in a class with people so that feels really good. But I also want to put in a plug for care partners. That all the things that we've talked about are equally important for people like me, who we have our own set of stressors, whether it's just the work that we do, or the fact that we have a partner who is a cancer patient or survivor.

And so I would just like to say that all the advice you guys have been sharing and your experiences, it's all applicable to anybody who's touched by cancer. Certainly, the general population benefits from exercise, but I have to say that it's been really helpful to me during the pandemic to do this along with my partner and to do it myself. I happen to love yoga and so I have found there's a woman, Adriene, who does Yoga with Adriene. Her voice is soothing. My body gets stretched and I can sleep better at night. I felt like I needed to put in a plug for those of us who hang out with all the wonderful patients that we all care for so much.

One other thing I wanted to touch on before we go to wrap up, sometimes it's hard to get motivated to do exercise. And especially in a time like this, where all we hear is negative and you have to be in your house and you have to wear a mask. Can you give some advice either of you about being motivated, how to make this more enjoyable? Just your personal perspective on that?

How To Stay Motivated With Your Exercise Program

Cathy Skinner:
As an entrepreneur, my schedule is wacky. I have to find a different time every day to get out the door, to ride my bike or go for a walk. Because again, it's summer in Minnesota so I have to embrace it as much as I can. But what I do is I play a trick on my mind. I have some favorite podcasts, some favorite books on tape and some favorite musical artists. And I only allow myself to listen to those favorite things when I'm out the door exercising. I have a dual motivation of pursuing the physical activity that I know is good for me and also the mental and emotional and auditory enjoyment, audible enjoyment that I'm seeking from some of my favorite things. I kind of have a reward system. And in the winter, if I've access to a treadmill or a stationary bike, then I only watch my favorite Netflix show when I'm on the apparatus. A little trick of just rewarding myself for the effort and then giving myself positive feedback and reinforcement that this is a good thing.

Esther Schorr:
Self-motivation. How about you, Kenny?

Kenny Capps:
Well, and I know that everybody's got different things that sort of get them going. And once you've made it a habit or part of your routine, part of your daily pattern, it certainly is a lot easier to get up and do it, because it's just what you do. I brush my teeth before I go to bed. I do these things when I get up in the morning. Well, if you make that part of your daily routine and in a time when you're less likely to not do it, which means you also have to allow for that time, that barrier, that sort of fuzzy before you start working out time and that fuzzy after you've finished working out time and I probably need to shower. But if you make that go away and don't account for that, then it seems really compressed. And then I can't do anything, well then what's the point?

I think maybe the biggest thing that I can say is give yourself a lot of liberty to say, "If I go out for five minutes and do something, that's five minutes that you otherwise wouldn't do." But do the rest of the part, keep the same routine. The get ready and take the shower and move on to the rest of the day. But do it.

Esther Schorr:
Andrew and I have been together, been married almost 35 years.

Kenny Capps:
Wow. Long time.

Esther Schorr:
With that “brush our teeth” mentality. Exercise, whether it's five minutes, 25 minutes or an hour and a half, depending on how we're feeling, that is the time when every day we're going to do something. And now with the way the pandemic is and our working with Patient Power, we have sort of this exercise zone after things quiet down on teleconferences and Zoom calls before dinner. Whatever it is, that's the time we're going to do something. And it just, there are times when it's like, oh my God, I just don't want to do this right now. We're like, okay, we're going to go do whatever we can do. And it always feels better afterward. Totally relate to everything you both have said. Really appreciate your insight. As we wrap up, I'd like to invite each of you to offer one last message to our audience, something to hopefully leave them with as they think about their own exercise routine. Kenny, how about you? And then when you're done, you can say goodbye and turn off your video and audio.

Kenny Capps:
Awesome. All right. Well, purposeful movement is a part of cancer treatment and it's necessary in your search for a better quality of life. You can do it. Ask for help when you need it, whether it's at the beginning, the middle or the end of where you're at, at your fitness cycle. Make a table of goals, make a plan to achieve those goals, trust the process and don't get discouraged when you fall short of a goal. We all do. You'll get it next time.

Esther Schorr:

Thank you, Kenny, very much. Really appreciate you joining us.

Kenny Capps:
Thanks for having me. Bye-bye.

Esther Schorr:
Bye. Cathy, how about you?

Cathy Skinner:
I would wind up by saying, Esther, you had mentioned care partners or caregivers earlier. And I would say that one thing we hadn't been very explicit about, but is well known and documented by research is accountability and an exercise partner. And maybe it's not your spouse, because maybe you're spending too much time together. And so there's ways to have social distancing and masks and accountability and community with someone who can hold you accountable and help you get out of bed in the morning. One of the things that I'm hearing people voice concern over something called Zoom butt. Get off. You can stand during Zoom meetings, people. The importance of accountability, support and movement and any little amount counts toward your own wellbeing, and then use Patient Power. It's got great resources.

There's physical activity, nutrition, mindfulness, yoga, Patient Power is a great resource. If you're just tapping into Patient Power, go deeper, explore more. There's so many wonderful resources and it's been a joy to be with you today. Thank you so much.

Esther Schorr:
Thank you, Cathy. And we have videos of you on Patient Power doing your wonderful things so people can go look for you there as well. Thanks a lot. Appreciate it.

Thank you for watching today. I hope it's been helpful to you. I'm Esther Schorr and please remember that knowledge can be the very best medicine of all.


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